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Surveys Show Strong Preference for Employee-Owned Products and Services

Public Support for Employee Ownership Legislation

A poll conducted June 27-28, 2016, by Public Policy Polling showed that 68% of those surveyed say that they "support the concept of companies being owned by their employees so that all workers share in their success." Just 13% oppose the idea, while 19% are unsure. The poll was performed for Employee-owned S Corporations of America, an organization promoting the interests of companies organized as S corporations and having an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

The poll also found that 58% of Americans would support legislation that makes it easier for employees to own a part of the business where they work and 50 percent of Americans think the government should do more to encourage the growth of employee-owned companies. Generally, support is highest among Democrats and those identifying as liberal, but pluralities of most groups are supportive. Younger people are somewhat more supportive than older people.

The tables below show how support breaks down by key party and ideological factors.

Do you support or oppose the concept of companies being owned by their employees, so that all the workers at a company share in its success?

Very liberalSomewhat liberalModerateSomewhat conservativeVery conservative

Would you support or oppose a bill/legislation that makes it easier for employees to own a part of the business where they work?

Very liberalSomewhat liberalModerateSomewhat conservativeVery conservative
The full report from Public Policy Polling is here.

New Survey Shows Strong Preference for Employee-Owned Products and Services

A new Google Consumer Survey done by Ownership Alliance found that the American public sees employee ownership very positively.

Ownership Alliance conducted a nationally-representative survey to test their employee-owned certification mark. The most striking finding was that respondents were willing to pay significantly more for products from companies that were certified as employee-owned. Table 1 shows that almost half the respondents would pay more, sometimes significantly more.

Would you pay more for a product with this EO Mark on its package?

Would not pay more52%
Would pay up to 10% more21%
Would pay 11% to 20% more10%
Would pay 21% to 30% more7%
Would pay over 30% more11%
The size of the employee ownership marketing advantage can be gauged relative to other certifications for socially responsible companies. Table 2 shows the EO logo moved the largest percentage of respondents into the "more likely to buy" categories.

Employee Ownership Compared to Other Certifications

Employee-Owned CertifiedFair Trade CertifiedGreat Place to WorkCertified B Corporation
Much more likely to buy13%11%4%4%
Somewhat more likely to buy28%24%16%10%
No change50%52%64%67%
Somewhat less likely to buy3%5%5%9%
Much less likely to buy6%8%10%10%
Note: Certified B Corps are certified based on the extent to which they meet a variety of social responsibility criteria, one of which is employee ownership. N ~ 1,500 per brand

Finally, when asked about what the mark said about a company using it, 41% of respondents said that being certified as employee-owned indicates a company provides fair compensation to employees, 29% said it strengthens the local economy, 20% said it places a high priority on customer support, 19% said it cares about social responsibility, and 16% said it provides high quality products and services (N = 2004).

Translating surveys into behavior is always uncertain, but these results show that there is a very strong positive view of employee ownership among consumers. How this would translate in business-to-business buying is less clear, but will be the subject of future research by Ownership Alliance.

Google Consumer Surveys are online surveys that have been shown to produce results more reliable than traditional phone surveys. Survey results are adjusted for demographic factors to produce representative samples with low margins of error.

Ownership Alliance ( runs a marketing and certification program for employee-owned companies and conducts market research on employee ownership.

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